“Dear Edwin Decker, you are the worst kind of liberal. You are ungrateful to America.... After all, it is America that allows you freedom of the press for you to write whatever you want and you return the favor by bashing it.” -J.Y., Point Loma
Ah yes, J.Y. from Point Loma is playing the old “ungrateful to America” card. Of course, this is another classic and all-too-common diversionary tactic. To call someone “Ungrateful to America”-the sin of all sins-is to marginalize the speaker and silence him into submission.
Take this article by Walter Scott Hudson for RightNation (www.rightnation.us), in which he writes, “If there's one word that sums up the Left... that word is ungrateful. Liberals are ungrateful to live in a country where they have the freedom to spew their vitriol without fear of being jailed or executed. And they are ungrateful to their grandfathers, who fought, bled, and died [for them].”
Sometimes people take it a step further. Sometimes they go so far to say that you hate America, such as John David Stone on www.September11victims.com, who writes, “Only [three] years after 3,000 innocent civilians were murdered on September 11, we have these insults to humanity who are living in this country and getting all the blessings associated therewith, yelling their ungrateful heads off about how much they hate America.”
You know, you have to be a real fart-lighting moron not to realize that the overwhelming majority of the American people on either side of the political aisle adore the shit out of America. However, to avoid confusion, let me qualify something: I don't hate America. I hate your idea of America. And since your idea of America isn't any more America than my idea of America, and you hate my idea of America as much as I hate yours-well, that makes you an America-hater as much as me.
Which is a longwinded way of saying, “I'm rubber, you're glue....”
The letter from J.Y. is a textbook example of the I'm Rubber, You're Glue Principle. In it, J.Y. wrote a rant refuting all my lefty rantings, just as I was writing rants against someone else's righty rantings. And, in a complex series of rights and lefts, it all comes back to the fact that J.Y. and I just have a different opinion on the matter of America. However, for some inexplicable reason, I'm an ungrateful bastard.
Do you actually believe that I am not eternally grateful to the millions of men and women over the years who fought and died for this country? Is this really how you see me? How weird.
Wanna know how I see you? I see you as some nutjob-evangelist type, standing on a soapbox in some park, sermonizing with foam on your lips and fangs in your eyes about the unholy ungrateful uprising, scanning the crowd for someone to blame. It's a nightmare really, and when you see me hiding in the back, you point your bony finger in my direction, howling, “Look at this... this moldy alley mattress of a man skulking in our midst. Get on your knees now, oh ye who-gives-no-thanks. Get on your knees and thank America like America deserves to be thanked!”
To which I would respond, “What in the shit I got to thank America about?” So America spares us the Tiananmen tankroll when we protest in public squares?
Gee thanks, America.
So America lets me say whatever I want without locking me in a hanging cage?
Let's all sing, “For he's a jolly good fellow.”
So America has decided, in all its infinite goodness, to allow me to worship the God of my choosing without fastening the heretic forks to my chin and chest?
Well, can I get a witness?!
So I'm supposed to be grateful to my government for not oppressing me? Don't you see, these are the ways governments are supposed to act. Being grateful to America for not oppressing you is like thanking some stranger on the street for not mugging you.
“Hey, man, thanks a lot for not stabbing me in the neck today. Yer a great guy. You know, you should meet my friend, America. You two have a lot in common.”
So excuse me if I prefer to reserve my thanks for those who earned it: People like Captain Cook for being such a bad-ass explorer and trying not to mess with the natives, and the Band of Brothers for kicking Nazi ass. I wanna thank my parents for my first typewriter. I wanna thank Geggy Tah for writing the perfect song about the essence of gratitude. I wanna thank HBO for producing shows that say “fuck” and “prick.” I want to thank Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay and their enormous balls for tagging the roof of the world. I want to thank you, you sick pricks, for reading and enjoying “Sordid Tales.” Really, I'd just like to take this opportunity-so there is never any question ever again about my level of appreciation-to thank every goddamn person, dead or alive, who ever sacrificed themselves in order to make somebody else's life even just a shred better. All I want to do is thank you, 'cause you let me change lanes while I was driving in my car. Whoever you are, I want to thank you-ooh.* B
* Geggy Tah
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and editor@SD citybeat.com. Visit www.edwindecker.com